Memorial bench to honor Ray Mills, Sun City's Uncle Sam

Ray Mills will always be Sun City's Uncle Sam.

And Mike Lindquist doesn't want anyone to forget it.

Lindquist is seeking to raise enough money to establish the "Ray Mills Memorial Bench," which will sit next to the Liberty Bell at the Bell Recreation Center.

"(Mills) always told me of all the things he did as Uncle Sam, his favorite was to ring the bell," said Lindquist, who has been filling Mills' red, white and blue role ringing the bell for the past two years.

As part of his Fourth of July tradition, Mills would let others ring the bell after he did so.

"He wouldn't quit until the last person left," Lindquist said Tuesday.

Mills began dressing up as Uncle Sam decades ago as a member of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Phoenix chapter. He went on to personify Uncle Sam for 18 years, attending programs on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day at Sunland Memorial Park in addition to ringing the Liberty Bell.

Mills, an Army veteran who fought in Europe during World War II, "had a terrific feeling for veterans," said Lindquist. "He didn't lose enthusiasm during the entire time. It never got old to him."

The cost of the entire project is around $2,000, and about half of that has already been raised, Lindquist said.

The bench will include a plaque with highlights of Mills' life.

Those who would like to contribute can make a check payable to "Sun City Foundation — Ray Mills Fund" and mail it to Mike Lindquist, 10536 W. Mission Lane, Sun City, AZ, 85351.

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